Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Snow in October

Snow in October, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
It is snowing in Morgantown. Leaves are still green on the trees in my yard. Every fifteen minutes I hear the crack of another branch as it breaks and falls somewhere in my neighborhood because of the weight of the snow on the still green leaves. The tops are broken out of most of the trees in my neighborhood right now. Powerlines are down, and the power goes out for a few seconds every half hour.

I hope this is not an early indicator of the severity of the winter to come.

Last night I left my class around 9:45. As I walked home it was snowing a little bit (it had been raining earlier). Twenty minutes after I got home, my roommate calls me outside. The ground was covered with snow.

And it is still coming down this morning. . .


vt2005_img_lp, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
So it happened. Saturday night I was immensely blessed. Two of my good friends made arrangements for me to be able to join them (and bring another buddy of mine) in Pittsburgh to see Bono and the boys.

This was probably one of the best, if not the best concert I have ever been to. It is a close call between this and Pearl Jam 2000.

Bono opened up the concert by thanking the crowd for the life they had provided for the band, and said, "we're trying to live it as large as we can!" In other words they were making the most of what they had been given. Are you doing the same?

The last set of the evening was a time of worship (unfortunately this point may have been missed by many in attendance). The last three songs of the second encore were God-ward. "All Because of You", "Yahweh", and "40" ended the evenings events.

The night was a mix of great music, humor, political activism, and incarnational faith.

While many have issues with Bono, it is my prayer that we would see many more people similar to Bono in this regard. . .

That they would live their lives radically and passionately for what they say they believe. Not to the point of endangering others, but to the point that people stand and take notice.

I wonder how many of us really live out our passion. I was just thinking about it this morning, and even among Christians, where identification with Jesus is in itself a little radical, I think many of us are afraid to step out of our comfort zones, and afraid of offending others.

Sometimes it makes me wonder, what do we really believe? Maybe we need to start swimming against the stream a bit more before we get swept away in apathy.

What do you think? Are you living life passionately?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

New Barna Finding and Book

I was just perusing the barna website, and I read this article this morning. I think it is particularly interesting point for reflection particularly for people who are seeking to develop incarnationl, missional, and transmographic faith communities.

Check it out here.

His findings indicate that people are leaving traditional forms of church but not necessarily leaving faith. He cites several million in the US who have left the traditional church to "go deeper in their commitment to God."

Perhaps we should examine our activities and events to determine whether or not we are equipping as we might hope.

a little vacation

Over the last three days, I took my parents on vacation. Sometime in the next few days I am hoping to post some comments and pictures of these events on this space. In the mean time, I just had this thought this morning, and figured I would write it.

Over the last couple of years I have been thinking about the uniqueness of ministry as a career. In some ways, people in ministry have a hard time taking time to rest and relax. (Believe it or not, I'm one of them, but I am learning!)

Eugene Peterson said it best when he said that we pursue this kind of career because we want to be involved in what God is doing in our world, but then as we get involved in our career, we start to believe what we are doing is indispensable--that God needs us. We relegate God to a position of helper, and we pursue our careers to change lives for God.

It's really pretty absurd. I was just reminded of this thought process this week when I left town. I came back to 13 voice mails, and even more emails. I started thinking about how I would be able to get all of the stuff done that needed to get done this week. I wondered who would take care of all the needs of our church. It was then that I realized--God will take care of all of the needs of His church. God will get all of the stuff done--somehow. I'm sure I will play a part in what He is doing, but "He must increase, and I must decrease."

Some might think this is justifying laziness. I mean nothing of the sort--every one of us has a personal responsibility in the loving, inclusive community called the church. Sometimes we just need to keep things in perspective--it's God's church and God's ministry, not ours.

Anyhoo, I felt like there was comfort for me to find in that revelation this week.

Do you believe God is taking care of your personal ministry, or is it all up to you, and God has been relegated to the sidelines?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Morgantown Sunday Morning

Morgantown Sunday Morning, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I was walking from my house to church sunday morning, and the sky was just so beautiful above this valley. The building on the right is the new Life Sciences Building at WVU. The green space was the home of old Mountaineer Field. The stillness of the morning, the crispness of the air, and the beauty of the sky helped to stir my heart toward what a wonderful place Morgantown is.
It is amazing when one is able to enjoy a moment of calm in the middle of a busy college town.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Fighting Fatigue

For some reason, I have been a little "under the weather" for the past few days. Lot's of stuff happening in town, and the days are growing shorter as well. My "soul group" is really doing well--we've had some great conversations, and we are looking to hang out in the Mountainlair (student union) later this week to see what God is up to.

In the meantime, my roommate has been wanting me to share his blog with the world. If you will look to the right of this entry, you will see a link with the name nic culp on it. Give it a look. And let him (and indirectly me) know what you think.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Operation Waterhouse Cleanup

From 8AM-5PM today seventeen of us participated in a massive cleanup effort in the building we were recently granted--the waterhouse. We scrubbed about 90 years of muck off some of the woodwork, and completely cleaned out a kitchen facility (among other projects). It's really cool because as a result, not only do we have a cleaner facility and a better organized space, now there are at least seventeen of us who have a greater sense of appreciation and ownership for this great building.

It was a long and tiring day, and we were confined to indoor activities as a result of the rain that hit, but we have an even greater sense of community as a result.

We have a wonderful facility and location, but it needs a ton of work. It's pretty exciting just to think about the improvements we made today. There's something really cool about manual labor and sweating and seeing tangible results at the end of the day--I really enjoy it.

I am looking forward to a much needed Sabbath rest tomorrow!

When do you take your sabbath?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

living out our calling

I am reading 25 chapters of the Bible/week with a couple of my good friends, and we get together and talk about what we've read on monday mornings @7AM. (I know, we're overachievers!)

Last week we read the last part of exodus and the beginnings of leviticus. I noticed something in a new way as I read through the end of exodus. God had chosen skilled laborers to work on His tabernacle. He had gifted them and they were specifically equipped for the job they were to do.

I couldn't help but think about our calling in association with this. You see, God is building his temple now through us--we are living stones. As each lives out his/her calling, he/she builds up the entire body right?

Well I started thinking about how these guys were better equipped than moses to do what they were doing--moses wasn't doing that work with the tabernacle, and neither were aaron and his sons. They had other work assigned.

I then started thinking about each persons role, and how you might be able to have quality people doing things, but what if it wasn't Christ centered . . .it would be talented, and well done, but it would also have an ugliness to it.

We each need to use our particular talents to glorify God, and need prayer to be the foundation of our work. I think that is probably the main thing--who is our talent and our hard work dedicated to? Ourselves, our peers, or the King of kings, and Lord of lords?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Suffering and Pain and Evil

Over the last few days, I've been hearing some very personal stories from the lives of others. The result has been that I have thinking a lot about the state of our world. I am more and more convinced of the wickedness of humanity the more stories I hear. Sure, I believe deep down that there are people who are really trying to make a difference, and who want to stem the tide. But the truth of the matter is, deep down, our own selfishness is what is the root of so much evil.

We can justify all kinds of evil, and to me that is really scary. I have a feeling that sometimes people don't completely grasp how warped or evil their deeds really are. I don't think we even like talking about evil to tell the truth. Sometimes I feel a little cynical, but more than anything i sweep from being depressed (at the state of the world) to being hopeful (of what the world will one day become).

When I hear stories about the evils committed against some of my friends (these are really too graphic to share, and I wouldn't want to violate confidence), I am heartbroken. I think we like to wear blinders much of the time, and all the while God is trying to pull them off of us, and get us to get involved in being instruments of healing in a world that needs each one of us to be yielded to the rule of King Jesus.

Where is God calling you to bring healing in your part of the world?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Healthy Eating

Over the last couple of months, since returning back from Florida this summer, I have really been watching what I eat. Not that I ate total garbage before, but over the last couple of months I have been both exercising more, and eating a more balanced diet.

I've been noticing a disctinct difference in how I feel on a given day. It seems like I have more energy to expend, and my body is more in rhythm. It is truly great to be in this situation.

I bought a road bike about three weeks ago, and I have been using it for most of my local commuting (the exception being a trip that will involve bulky items). I've also been focussing on carpooling more when that option is available. It takes a little longer to arrive at some places, but the environmental impact as well as the personal health benefit (if I can keep from getting hit) help make it worth while.

When I eat now, I notice more distinctly how I feel if I eat something relatively unhealthy, and it affects me for a while afterward. Not to the point that I am sick, but to the point I don't feel as energetic or lively. Yesterday I ate CiCi's Pizza for lunch, and a buffalo chicken quesadilla for dinner--bad idea in combination.

When I have time, I travel to a local farmers market, and I've been buying organic and locally grown food. Maybe that is part of what is making the difference. It is funny because I'm probably meeting a lot of stereotypes for people with long hair, but I am really thankful for the difference taking place in my physiology as a result of these new eating and exercise habits.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Alas, the mighty mountaineers have fallen. While I mourn heavily at this tragic loss, as well as the end of a great rivalry, life will go on. A few of my Blacksburg friends, Terri Dewey, Jeannette Staats, and Jackie Koch all called to console me during this very difficult time. Thanks ladies!